The RAND Corporation and UFOs

Written by Super User on . Posted in UFOs


RAND Corporation

Though well known by name, the RAND Corporation is actually a rather secretive semi-official think tank, based in Santa Monica, California, whose work includes computer “war games” scenarios and other classified research for the Air Force. Knowing the Air Force’s long background with the UFO problem, it shouldn’t comes as a surprise then that RAND, as well as other similar outfits such as the Battelle Memorial Institute, have conducted specialized UFO projects in the past. Despite all denials to the contrary, the RAND report which Mr. Laub wanted to know about, did indeed exist. Titled UFOs: What to Do?, it was published on November 27, 1968, “FOR RAND USE ONLY.” Its author was George Kocher. The document was eventually downgraded or leaked to the public, and it can now be obtained through the Center for UFO Studies in Evanston, Illinois.

 studies for Air Force


Yet the history of the RAND Corporation and UFOs goes back to the earliest days of Air Force involvement in the matter. The Air Materiel Command’s Project “SIGN” final Technical Report on “UNIDENTIFIED AERIAL OBJECTS,” issued in February of 1949 and declassified only in 1967, states very clearly that the RAND Corporation was assisting the Air Force UFO project along with consultants from Ohio State University (Dr. J. Allen Hynek), General Electric Research (Dr. Irving Langmuir) and MIT (Dr. G.E. Valley). On page 3 of this report, we read that “inasmuch as various surmises have been advanced that some of the reported observations may have represented ‘space ships’ or satellite vehicles, a special study has been initiated with the RAND Corporation, under the RAND Project, to provide an analysis from this standpoint and also to provide fundamental information, pertaining to the basic design and performance characteristics that might distinguish a possible ‘space ship’.” So much for the USAF’s Community Relations Division denials that no such report had ever been requested by the military.


RAND's original office in Santa Monica, CA in 1948. (image credit: RAND Corporation)

space ships theory probed

Dr. James E. Lipp (image credit: RAND Corporation)

We know only from this period what Project Sign termed “a preliminary undertaking,” and which consisted of a RAND project study prepared by Dr. James Everett Lipp, an aeronautical engineer then serving as head of RAND’s Missiles Division. It was submitted in a letter form to Brigadier General Putt, Director of Research and Development Office, USAF, and published as APPENDIX “D” of project Sign’s final Technical Report. (Shortly after, Project Sign became Project grudge).

Dr. Lipp’s letter indicates that further research was being conducted by a Mr. Collbohm on the “special design and performance characteristics that are believed to distinguish space ships,” but this or other reports from the time have not been obtained by UFO researchers that we know of. Professor Lipp’s work was reviewed briefly on a previous article (see UFO Supplement, April 3, 1982 issue) as it pertained to the possible relationship between UFOs and the planet Mars. Dr. Lipp devoted several pages of his study discussing the likelihood of intelligent life in Mars and what the technical requirements would be for the hypothetical Martians to visit Earth in “a nuclear hydrogen-propelled vehicle.”

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